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HP Compaq 6730b Person Evaluate

HP Compaq 6730b Person Evaluate

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by Steve Jordi

The HP Compaq 6730b is the “enterprise” version of the 6730 laptop computer line lately launched by HP. Enterprise means balanced mobility and energy. There’s a 6730w for “workstation alternative” and 6730s as an entry product.

It’s priced within the $1,000-$1,690 vary, relying on the configuration. My mannequin was purchased in Switzerland and got here solely in two flavors: with a 15.4″ WSXGA+ display screen (1680×1050) or WXGA (1280×800). I picked the WSXGA+ since I’ve been working with this decision for about six years now.

HP Compaq 6730b evaluate unit specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 Processor (2.40GHz, 3MB L2 cache, 1066MHz FSB)
  • Microsoft Real Home windows Vista Enterprise
  • 15.4-inch WSXGA+ anti-glare (1680 x 1050)
  • Intel GMA 4500MHD built-in graphics (as much as 384MB shared reminiscence)
  • 2GB DDR2 800MHz RAM
  • 250GB 5400RPM Toshiba 2.5″ HDD
  • Blu-Ray and DVD+/-RW Optical Drive
  • WiFi (draft n), Ethernet, Modem, and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 6-Cell (55 WHr) Lithium-Ion Battery
  • 3-Yr on-site Guarantee
  • Dimensions: 14.02″ x 10.46″ x 1.32″
  • Weight: 5.95lbs

 

Construct and Design

This can be a “enterprise” machine. The HP Enterprise line, in my view, by no means actually supplied enticing fashions, and
this one isn’t any actual shock. It appears to have the identical case because the nc8430 however they added that good DuraFinish
coat on the palm relaxation space. This provides as much as the horny look.

The machine appears very stable, the end is skilled. The display screen additionally appears stable despite the fact that I all the time open it rigorously, as I’d do on any laptop computer anyway. The deception comes from the CD/DVD tray which undoubtedly looks like an affordable plastic toy. Don’t understand how lengthy it will final earlier than breaking.

I additionally had difficulties to really really feel the place the open button is situated with out actually truly it. As soon as I discovered it, I nonetheless have generally a tough time urgent it till the unit opens. Closing it additionally causes issues as I very often had to do that 4 or 5 instances earlier than it locked into the unit. This can be associated to that particular unit I’ve and to not a line-wide drawback although. I discovered a strategy to shut it instantly by simply placing stress with my fingers on the facet close to the again of the laptop computer.

Display screen

It got here with no lifeless pixels in any respect. That is good particularly when you concentrate on the 1680×1050 decision. The display screen is mate, and really clear. It’s an actual pleasure to work on it (I generally spend 14 hours in entrance of it with out eye pressure). Watching DVDs on-screen can also be a nice expertise. Most likely not as a lot because the HP DV line devoted to multimedia experiences within the household, however nonetheless, it’s good.

As all the time on a LCD display screen I tweak it utilizing Microsoft ClearType. So far as I do know, it doesn’t leak. I didn’t discover any mild smearing on the perimeters of the display screen as you could have on different fashions. In fact, an LCD display screen signifies that the brightness and high quality of picture varies lots relying on the viewing angle. However when you regulate it to the image high quality you want, it’s very good.

Testing the flexibleness of the display screen body got here as no shock. You may see distortions within the lightness of the picture however the world feeling is that it feels resistant. I attempted to use finger pressures on the again of the display screen and I noticed minimal artifacts on the LCD.

There are two rubber stress factors on the keyboard that have a tendency to really contact the display screen’s floor whenever you shut the laptop computer, so that you generally see some marks left on the display screen, however nothing bothering.

Audio system and Multimedia

That is the BIG shock of the laptop computer. I by no means truly had such nice audio system. These ones supply a variety of frequency and the bass are glorious and deep. That is the primary time I’m truly impressed by built-in audio system … particularly whenever you suppose the laptop computer is devoted to enterprise greater than dwelling leisure.
The audio system are situated on the entrance of the case and near the middle of it. I all the time hook my laptop computer to exterior audio system since I dock it to the station, however I journey lots too and the speaker high quality is a plus when spending nights in resorts, watching motion pictures on my laptop computer.

If you happen to’re into video conferencing or running a blog, you’ll get pleasure from having a built-in webcam on the prime of the display screen. From my expertise, it’s adequate for video conferencing utilizing Skype, however don’t count on it to be of a lot assist in order for you one thing extra stable. The decision is VGA (640×480), interval. Nothing extra. And the standard will not be super. I managed to configure it for backlight compensation to enhance the standard of the picture whereas in a convention. However hey, you continue to can hook a greater machine. No less than now, whereas touring I don’t want an additional toy in my laptop computer bag, no extra cables working round and no must sacrifice a USB port. It’s very handy to have it inbuilt despite the fact that it comes as a normal in most as we speak’s laptops (and at higher resolutions).

One good factor although are the microphones. Sure, with an “s”. You could have two microphones for stereo recording. They’re situated throughout the highest of the display screen on the left and proper of the built-in webcam.

CD/DVD Burner

As mentioned, the tray actually appears to be like low cost and it’s uncertain that it’s going to final on the long run. However at the very least the DVD/CD drive is dealing with most of as we speak’s codecs and is twin layer (DVD+/–RW SuperMulti DL). Additionally, it embeds HP’s LightScribe expertise to burn grayscale photographs labels immediately on the DVD (on LightScribe prepared media in fact). The offered LightScribe labeler software program is a bit mild, included with the Roxio suite and I’d suggest you to improve it to the complete model (it’s solely about $12.95 for the downloadable model). This fashion it is possible for you to to write down almost something, in any approach that fits you rather than being caught with some imposed non editable templates (round titles just for instance).

On the person facet, one may remorse that the pocket book doesn’t include at the very least one empty LightScribe CD/DVD as a demo. It’s normally supplied with DVD drives. So you’ll have to go to the native retail retailer to purchase a media field. You gained’t be capable to play with it and impress the family and friends proper out of the field. Additionally in order for you a Blue-Ray DVD, you’ll should get it as an possibility.

Efficiency

The laptop computer got here with Microsoft Vista Enterprise 32bit and instantly reveals the Home windows Expertise Index rating. The WEI displays the poorest rating of the varied checks and the 6730b is at a low 3.4 primarily because of the video chip, however I wouldn’t count on increased scores with out a devoted video chip anyway.

Listed below are some video benchmarks with Aero enabled and with Aero disabled. Additionally every benchmark has been completed beneath the “max energy” profile (doesn’t spare battery and doesn’t cut back energy consumption).

Booting the unit “bare” is comparatively quick, however as you stuff it with purposes and companies, it slows down. I’m new to Vista however despite the fact that I didn’t set up all of my compiler parts and instruments but, I’ve the sensation that it crawls greater than my previous nc8430 beneath XP Professional SP3. Mine boots in about 6 minutes and 50 seconds (with a lot of the ineffective companies turned off). And clearly, 2GB of RAM will not be sufficient. Opening simply two purposes, Outlook and Whole Commander, already results in ugly “Operating low on reminiscence. Shut purposes”. So go forward and purchase an additional 1GB or 2GB, even when Vista 32bit can’t cope with 4GB. It may possibly use 3GB to three.5GB. It appears to be like like on mine, it makes use of 3GB for Home windows and 700+MB for the video card.

I’m not a recreation participant so I can’t assistance on this. Nonetheless I don’t learn about what you suppose relating to 16:10 screens for gaming both.

As a take a look at I attempted modifying the identical film on the nc8430 (devoted video chip) and the 6730b with Cyberlink Energy Director 7. I took a 39 minutes film giving a 2.4GB VOB file:

  • the nc8430 took 29 minutes and 32 seconds
  • the 6730b took quarter-hour and 57 seconds

Remember the fact that the video chips are totally different and that, processor-wise, the 6730b is extra highly effective. So it actually was a shock to see that this 6730b with such a poor video card was twice as quick! Most likely because of the processor itself.

Benchmarks

Vista Home windows Expertise Index:

Graphics 3.2 (with Aero ON)
Gaming Graphics 3.4
Onerous Disk 5.3
RAM 5.0
Processor 5.3

   
Now for those who set the Intel video chip to greatest efficiency, you get:

Graphics 3.4 (with Aero ON)
Gaming Graphics 3.7
Onerous Disk 5.3
RAM 5.0
Processor 5.3

   
SuperPI outcomes:
+ 000h 00m 01s    [  16K]
+ 000h 00m 01s    [  32K]
+ 000h 00m 01s    [  64K]
+ 000h 00m 01s    [ 128K]
+ 000h 00m 04s    [ 256K]
+ 000h 00m 09s    [ 512K]
+ 000h 00m 22s    [   1M]
+ 000h 00m 52s    [   2M]
+ 000h 01m 58s    [   4M]
+ 000h 04m 23s    [   8M]
+ 000h 09m 44s    [  16M]
+ 000h 22m 04s    [  32M]

3DMark06 outcomes:

HDTune outcomes:

Warmth and Noise

As I mentioned, the nc8430 upsets me particularly due to the fan noise. What a aid with the 6730b. You barely hear  the fan (when it truly goes off) and even at full throttle (whereas modifying a film or compiling a big C++ venture), it’s nonetheless extra silent than the nc8430 when idle! This says all of it.

Once more the nc8430 additionally had a Graphical Processor Unit (GPU) fan, a further supply for warmth, however general, the 6730b is a blessing. I used to be fearing that laptops would develop into increasingly noisy with increasingly highly effective chips, however this appears to be like to be fallacious. Silent laptops nonetheless exist as we speak. I’m very choosy on noise issues, so I’m a contented person now.

Warmth doesn’t appear to be an issue both, however it doesn’t come as a shock because the fan doesn’t work more often than not (that means it doesn’t want to chill down the machine). And the Centrino 2 serie is understood to eat even much less energy than another chip designed for moveable machines. The Onerous Disk may be very silent too. Which is nice information. I first feared it was noisy throughout the Vista set up, because it clicked generally, however as soon as Vista was put in, no extra worries. I defragmented it utilizing Norton Defrag and I might barely inform whether or not it was working or not. The warmth is dissipated by the exhaust grid on the left facet of the case.

Keyboard

The keyboard is a bit huge and arduous, and I’ve to say I undoubtedly most well-liked the earlier technology on the nx7000 and Omnibook line. That is form of the identical because the nc8430 and to me, it’s not tender sufficient. It’s a bit noisy, clinky for those who work at evening. However at the very least it’s spill resistant. General it’s nonetheless nice to kind in lengthy textual content paperwork. However at dwelling, hooked to the docking station, I exploit a cordless Logitech keyboard/mouse for my on a regular basis work.

Now the cool half are the LED indicators and touch-sensitive buttons above the keyboard. They glow in several colours relying on their standing. You don’t have buttons anymore, you simply contact the floor with the tip of your fingers to change them on and off. Contact the WiFi signal, slide your finger on the amount scale to extend or lower it. That is geeky however fairly cool.

What may be very disarming although is the placement of the standard navigation keys. I like them on the prime proper of the keyboard, on a two line place, Insert/Del, House/Finish and PgUp/PdDn. Right here is how these keys look on many pocket book keyboards:

On the 6730b they’re partly on the highest and most of them on the correct facet of the keyboard.

After utilizing it for 3 weeks I’m nonetheless not used to this. Navigating in Home windows Explorer or in a utility like Whole Commander, I’m used to press House/Enter to maneuver up one degree within the listing hierarchy. This fashion I find yourself more often than not urgent DELETE/Enter. Not what I anticipated! Identical when replying to emails. I usually need to rearrange the traces the place they have been reduce and use the END/DEL keys sequence to do that on every line. Right here it’s a nightmare. I find yourself utilizing PageDown and END as a substitute of what I need to obtain Additionally the buttons  on the correct facet are HOME on prime, then PageUp, PageDown and eventually END on the backside. Not feeling pure whenever you’re used to a full keyboard.

I don’t learn about you, however to me, the correct most keys on a keyboard are the Enter and Backspace keys, so I count on them to intuitively be situated there. So once I hit “enter”, I find yourself on PageUp or PageDown. You may get used to this, however it’s not pure. I do know it’s the development as we speak to rearrange keyboard navigation keys, together with on desktop ones the place the DEL key’s now lengthy (with out motive), and PgUp and PgDn ones break any frequent sense. Additionally, a minor element, however the “-” (sprint) has a really small “-” signal. Localization drawback: this gained’t matter on a US keyboard, however on others, whenever you have a look at your keyboard chances are you’ll find yourself mixing it with the interval “.” subsequent to it, typing one thing like “www-hp-com” as a substitute of the standard “.” separator. Observe that the standard PrtScr, ScrollLock and Pause buttons are now not accessible with the alt key mixture however with the FN operate key as a substitute. One final remorse is the scale of the operate keys (F1 to F12). They’re a bit on the small dimension in comparison with regular keyboards.

Touchpad

As talked about the 6730b comes solely with a touchpad. It’s providing two bulk rubber buttons on the entrance. The buttons may need been slightly bit much less cumbersome however they really feel okay. Observe that the fingerprint reader is situated between these two buttons. I’m not a touchpad fan to say the reality, however I all the time loved the scrolling space to simply navigate into PDF paperwork by simply sliding down my finger on that touchpad. My remorse is that the 6730b doesn’t include a pointstick (that small rubber joystick between the FGV keys). I really like this and really feel methods extra correct with this.

Enter and Output Ports

If docked, the 6730b gives an HDMI output port. You get 4 USB 2.0 ports, which is good (the nc8430 had solely three), a FireWire port, a serial port, microphone and speaker jacks (on the entrance), SVideo out, VGA out. The same old telephone and Ethernet RJ11 and RJ45 jacks can be found. No video enter although. On the underside, you may have the connectors for the docking station in addition to the one to clip the exterior 8-cell or 12-cell batteries. The laptop computer comes with an ExpressCard/54 and a welcome 6-in-1 media reader. The great shock is that the SD card reader is appropriate with SDHC requirements (that was not the case of the nc8430) that’s fairly frequent on as we speak digital cameras and video cameras.

Wi-fi

The onboard WiFi is an Intel 802.11a/b/g draft-n card and performs very nicely. In comparison with the IntelPro/Set from my nc8430 I simply miss the great configuration utility that’s not actually current on this laptop computer. You must undergo Vista or HP WiFi Assistant to configure your networks. Perhaps it additionally gives this characteristic, however I miss the IntelPro/Set capability to backup profiles and save them on disk in case you needed to reformat and reinstall your laptop computer or simply needed to get rid off one-time lodge connections. I nonetheless have to analyze this.

Battery

My battery first take a look at shocked me. It lasted 5h40 with default settings. Add to it my 8-cell extra one and also you get a stable 12 to 14 hours of operation. I spend a number of time in worldwide flights, so flying Europe to the US West coast shall be a pleasure now. No want for additional cables (when on-seat plugs are supplied).

Working System and Software program

The 6730b got here with built-in Vista Enterprise 32-bit put in. You must run by the configuration the primary time you flip it on. There is no such thing as a OS activation because the built-in one appears to be preregistered. For these of you who hate Vista (like me now), you additionally get a full Home windows XP Professional SP2 CD within the package deal. However meaning additionally ranging from floor and getting the required drivers from the Web since there isn’t any official “downgrade” course of to observe.

HP gives most of its helpful software program to handle the WiFi connection, the 3D DriveGuard accelerometer (to park the Onerous Disk in case of a shock) and the complete Safety Suite to handle the disk encryption, the fingerprint registration, and so forth. With that suite, you can also totally configure the BIOS from inside Home windows while not having to reboot … a pleasant characteristic.

As for third celebration software program, you get some bloatware however because it’s a enterprise laptop computer, you get much less of them than in dwelling leisure models. It comes with a 60-day trial Microsoft Workplace 2007 put in that insists about activating it. Additionally at first boot, it’s important to settle for or refuse to put in McAfee virus suite. If you happen to refuse, it’s going to absolutely uninstall and also you gained’t be allowed to setup it later.

My drawback with that is that the software program must be there for those who want it, however must be as much as you to determined whether or not you need to set up it or not. Having it pre-installed signifies that, do you have to be sad with it, it’s important to uninstall them. And as , uninstall is rarely clear. Purposes go away crumbs all over the place, combine up some necessary DLLs (model issues), and doesn’t actually clear the registry.

Particularly extremely invasive merchandise like McAfee. Additionally, eradicating McAfee, Workplace 2007, PDFComplete and AOL Toolbar wanted a number of reboots. One thing you won’t get pleasure from. Eradicating Workplace 2007 crashed the Home windows Explorer twice too. That claims lots about how “clear” the system shall be as soon as the software program is gone.

Lastly, to my disappointment, there isn’t any rescue disc. You could have two extra partitions on the arduous disk: one used for emergency boot and one other one with drivers and software program/bloatware. In case your system absolutely fails on you, you continue to can reboot and press F11 to begin the manufacturing facility reset course of. However for those who hoped to reclaim that information you gained’t discover any utility to create emergency DVDs or to launch these two partitions (which add two extra drive letters to your explorer, D and E). On the nc8430, you had a utility to burn three DVDs with all of the emergency system information and drivers required in case you wanted to reinstall every thing, liberating up then the partitions. It could have been good to have such a instrument. At the same time as a obtain from HP’s website online.

Conclusion

As a volcanologist, I’ve my laptop computer on my backpack on a regular basis. I additionally work in a number of totally different nations … growing nations the place energy traces are a joke, surge safety in nonexistent, mud is all over the place, and excessive humidity will not be managed. For greater than 15 years I’ve been loyal to HP as a result of it’s the one model that by no means failed on any event. It’s dependable, skilled, resistant. That mentioned, let’s come again to this 6730b unit.

I’d undoubtedly suggest this laptop computer for any enterprise person or developer. What counts is the “humpf” within the guts and the 6730b delivers. It’s sturdy and for those who’re off to enterprise journeys, it gained’t fail on you, being carried round. Watching motion pictures is a pleasure and the expertise is certainly falling within the HP “balanced mobility” tag. The battery lasts virtually 6 hours and that makes it motive to purchase this machine for those who’re hitting the highway. Particularly for those who add the exterior 8-cell battery (to purchase as an possibility).

Additionally for enterprise professionals, it’s good to depend on the inbuilt safety choices in case your machine will get stolen or for those who neglect it behind you at an airport. It’s extra more likely to occur than a house multimedia HP DV line laptop computer which doesn’t require to encrypt delicate information.

For players, I’d counsel a workstation alternative or a multimedia pocket book with a devoted video chip (at the very least 256MB or 512MB if doable) quite than a enterprise pocket book with built-in graphics. For video modifying addicts I’ve combined emotions. Right here too a devoted chip ought to make a distinction, however as acknowledged, my expertise has proven that the 6730b is twice as quick because the nc8430 in rendering a 2.8GB film.

What I’d change to this machine to make it the proper one?

  1. Add a devoted video chip for players (however this may enhance warmth and decrease the battery life). And is that this the aim on a enterprise machine?
  2. Add a pointstick to the keyboard
  3. And most necessary, place  these navigation keys somehwere else, on the prime, identical to on a desktop keyboard.

Execs:

  • Sturdy End
  • Contact-sensitive management buttons
  • Constructed-in webcam
  • Lightscribe
  • SDHC appropriate reader
  • Safety suite and {hardware}
  • Wonderful audio system
  • Good connectivity and port choice
  • Stereo microphones
  • Very silent

Cons:

  • Keyboard navigation keys
  • Some bloatware
  • VGA webcam
  • No restoration DVD
  • Low-cost feeling DVD drive
  • No pointstick

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